Are you doing anything differently these days? Have you made any resolutions lately, or do you save them for January 1? Speaking of new year’s resolutions, how are you doing with yours? Or perhaps you don’t make resolutions per se; you prefer to identify what you need to do and go for it.
Resolution involves change and change involves rhythm
If you’re the kind of person who consciously looks to make changes, the odds are that you rely on rhythm to help you initiate the change, and/or the change that you want to make has something to do with a rhythm or pattern in your daily life.
If you don’t think much about changes, chances are that change takes place within the naturally occurring flow, or lack thereof, of your lifestyle, and relates to the relationships between your own personal rhythms and the rhythms of your connections (human, non-human, environmental, cultural, planetary).
And if you’re a family member, friend or professional eager to help someone other than yourself, it’s highly likely that you’ll find that the issue needing to be addressed boils down to that person’s ability to organize himself and execute movement within a timeframe(s) relevant to his/her life. You recognize the need for some sort of sequences of actions and rests within a steady place in time (aka rhythm) to help that person get back on track, regain skills and develop new ways.
What makes rhythm such a powerful agent for change?
- Many rhythms (internal and external) are constants in our lives and can provide structure. Examples include the cycle of daylight and darkness through the year and within twenty-four hour days, the temporal order of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and perhaps your heartbeat and other body pulses, and your routines.
- External and internal rhythms are mutually influential, for better or for worse. Rhythmic or dysrhythmic features of external surroundings can affect internal rhythms and our performance, and internal rhythms or dysrhythmias can affect our perception of external stimulation and our thoughts, feelings and behavior in response to that stimulation.
- Rhythm affects and connects the brain and the body; rhythm stimulates rhythm. The natural phenomenon of entrainment, or the law of synchrony, whereby two moving bodies or systems come into in a common period of movement, has become a primary way in which music and sound are used in neuro-rehabilitation and habilitation. Rhythmic music is particularly useful. Periodic beat stimulation is as well.
- Rhythm connects sensory and motor systems. Rhythm connects the auditory and motor systems as well as stimulating the connection of other sensory systems (i.e. sense of movement/position, touch, and vision) with motor systems, with or without the auditory system.
- Sensory entrainment, the aligning of the function of a sensory system in time with the environment, optimizes perception during important moments in time.
- Rhythm helps us make predictions.
- When we make changes in specific patterns or sequences of doing with our time, we’re making changes that factor into the full composition of our days.
A daily dose of synchrony or groove
Most people feel better about themselves and their lives when their days include opportunities to sync up with a beat or rhythm and/or to be in a “groove”, or a rhythmic pattern such as a routine. Consider, for examples, your breathing in meditation, your walking, running, biking to the music of your carefully chosen playlist, or those days when your scheduled events for the morning were perfectly suited to your own tempo or when the routines and events of your day were well- balanced within the twenty-four hours you were given). Yet for many of us, synchrony and groove are not readily accessible, either due to daily living/environmental features or personal characteristics, conditions and limitations, or both.
Rhythmic music can provide your daily dose of synchrony, putting you in the midst of a temporally (time) organized stimulus that is going to ultimately be in synchrony and offer you the opportunity to naturally and spontaneously sync with it, even if you are not moving! This is especially important for those who do not experience much synchrony or cohesion in their lives either due to their circumstances, or their lack of awareness.
inTime, Advanced Brain Technologies’ rhythm and frequency-based music listening program, was specifically designed to bring an increased awareness of Rhythm (temporal structure of sound) into listener’s lives, in terms of steady beat stimulation and rhythmic sequences or patterns, to improve timing and to improve listening. The inTime method involves:
- Listening to intentionally composed and produced rhythmic percussive and instrumental music that is organized to progressively focus on featured sound frequencies in which the user is actively participating.
- Optional body percussion and drumming activities emphasizing beat and rhythmic sequences.
Your daily dose of synchrony, inTime is a tool to stimulate and support change, particularly in the areas of self-regulation, sensory-motor function and interaction.
Make this year the year that you discover and use beat and rhythm in who you are, how you feel, what you do, and what you improve. Now’s the time to discover and use beat and rhythm in who you are, how you feel, what you do, and what you improve.
– Sheila Allen is a co-creator and co-producer of inTime and a licensed occupational therapist who co-directs Pediatric Therapeutics, LLC, a children’s therapy center in Chatham, NJ.